Saturday, August 18, 2018

No Innocent Child

So far, so good.

Those would be the thoughts of President Donald Trump, nowthat

Several high-profile Republican senators told CNN over the past day that they have no issue with President Donald Trump's decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance...

Of the public statements made by Republican senators, more sounded supportive of the President than against.

GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado called Brennan's comments on the administration "disgraceful" to the country.

"I think what John Brennan has said about this country over the past several months has been disgraceful," Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told CNN on Thursday.

Asked whether he was troubled by Trump's decision, South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott responded, "why should I find it to be troubling?"

"I don't think it's retribution," Scott told CNN. "However, I think it's clear that Brennan has found a way to monetize a part of his national security clearance and I'm not sure how that served our national security."

And Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said it was Trump's "prerogative" to pull security clearances.

(People who believe that simply putting more African-Americans into elective positions will bring about a truly just society should mull on Tim Scott's words a bit.)

This was a report from Thursday. Since that time, there has been exactly zero (0) GOP members of Congress (or governors) even questioning Trump's move.

If lack of criticism from Republicans was predictable- as it was- the reason for Trump's decision becomes a little less murky.

On August 12, Steve M wisely attributed one of the President's acts to "Trump's spoiled-brat personality."  Yet, he took a different approach after Brennan's security clearance was pulled, remarking "A true tyrant would conduct a sweeping, massive purge of critics. What Trump is doing is terrible, but he doesn't quite have a real tyrant's broad vision. So he's revoking clearances slowly, and focusing on a list of people Fox has told him shouldn't have those clearances. "  However, a "Gable1111" rebutted this perspective with

I believe Trump does have that broad vision, and at least in his own mind would surely like to be just as tyrannical as some of the worst, i.e. Kim Jong Un, Rodrigo Duterte, and of course his idol, Putin. He's said as much. But more calculating heads of like mind in his counsel who have a better understanding of how "Washington" works know that its better to stick your toe in to see how much you can get away with, rather than dive in head first as Trump would do, and drown.

The metaphor of the cautious bather is apt. Probably slightly more so is that of the child and his parents, as described by former federal prosecutor Kim Wehle on Friday's All In (beginning at 12:10 of the video below):

And I think what's happening here is it's almost like an adolescent smashing all the crystal in the house because he or she is not getting what they want and the parents are standing by doing nothing or giving more of what this child wants. That is, the parents are Congress. Congress is not doing its job to make sure that the President stays within the boundaries of the Constitution- not just due process but also the First Amendment.

A member of the Senate minority, Virginia's Mark Warner, wants to make Congress less impotent, especially critical because President Trump otherwise could move to strip Special Counsel Mueller of his security clearance. It's unlikely to succeed in the face of unified opposition from Republicans, but may at least make more stark the contrast between Team Russia and Team America. 

The adolescent is testing his limits, and must not be pampered.

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